I can’t write because I’m bothered by a thought—a sad thought and a bad thought—and so, I spent the day re-reading Paul Theroux’s “The Stranger at the Palazzo D’Oro,” hoping to recover my focus. I was surprised because I already read the book before but I felt I was reading it for the first time. I remember nothing about the story except for its opening, where this young American student desired the life of a man he saw at a bar at an Italian Palazzo (a desire which had a way of coming true with the full impact of irony) and the scene where the narrator met the American student named Myra, on her way to Syracuse to see some paintings. But I felt strange because I used to recognize scenes I already read before but now, reading the book for the second time, I felt like I was plodding new territory. After I drifted off to sleep and awoke to finish the book, I read all my old New Yorker and did not move the whole day, so that when Ja and Sean arrived at dusk, seeing me sprawled on the floor with all the magazines, they asked why I was so depressed, I did not join them on the beach. Ja asked, too, if I wanted to sing again in a videoke but I said, no, I’d better stay home. “Are you really struck that hard, that you’re so devastated and depressed?” he asked. “Yes, of course,” I said and felt relieved. “I’m bleeding, can't you see?”
I really had a hard time dealing with it. “Why can’t you just put it aside and have fun?” Ja asked again.
I said, “Shhhhh.” Ja did not say a word. I kept telling myself I should not be sad. After all, Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize for Literature this year. I prefer her to Haruki. I needed to face my demons. I found pleasure in hunting for all those photography books I have accumulated through the years now languishing in abandoned corners of my room.